Apr 222012
 
 April 22, 2012  Posted by  In The News, Opinions 1 Response »

On March 18th of 2011 I received an email from former Atlanta Falcon Safety Ray Easterling. Unfortunately Ray passed away last week and subsequently authorities have determined that Ray’s death has been considered a suicide. His email was somewhat personal but I want to share edited parts of the email to readers. I am truly sadden that yet another former player has felt a need to end his pain by taking his own life! My sincerest condolences to the Easterling Family!

One of the reasons why I am sharing this private email is to allow the public especially those who will inevitably say something ignorant like “well these guys knew what they were getting into when they played” to get a glimpse of what they may never have an opportunity to see. To those who continue to think that football players of years ago knew what would happen or to assume they were well compensated for their play and pain, I beg to differ! Players had no clue that getting dinged, getting knock silly or getting your bell rung with concussions had lingering long lasting and even fatal consequences. We are all watching from box seats on the 50 yard line with a view the lingering effects of physical (knees, hips, back, shoulders and ankles) and neurological (the brain) pain players are effected with and how their pain now is handled individually.

Dear Harry,

My name is Ray Easterling. I played from 1972-1980 as a safety for the Atlanta Falcons!

I have always been regarded as a “Hitter”: just recently I was talking with Tommy Nobis on the phone and he said, “Whenever your name comes up, I either think or say,”Ray was one of those special players who was bring it as hard in a losing cause, as he would in a close game”. Nice compliment from a great football player, who I played beside a number of years.

I understand you are on the advisory board of Gridiron Greats and wonder if you would be an advocate for me. I am experiencing an accelerating loss of nerve function in both hands-conclusive from M.R.I., E.M.G., and other tests. Recently, I had an initial evaluation by one of the foremost brain-psychiatrist, in the U.S.A.- my wife accompanied me. He wants to promptly do another M.R.I., Pet scan, Sleep evaluation, other tests because the early tests he performed indicated a possible onset of Alzheimer’s, in light of all the concussions, I played with over 9 years-forget about practice which was worse than a game.

Harry, I have wondered if my business acumen has been askew for several years, due to the number of concussions I played with in games. You remember the code-If you could run, you played! I’ve had two hip replacements), 5 knee operations, another elbow operation, right shoulder re-construction, neck pain and bone spurs. Recently, I have lost the ability to endure even the slightest cold in my hands, and unable to button my shirt. My short term memory is giving me issues and after this initial evaluation my wife is scared to death. The Dr. wants to immediately perform tests, as well as medication, in case his postulation of early onset of mental issues due to brain trauma. I took early retirement and was unaware that I gave up my right to disability.

I was moved by your letter about Dave (Duerson). Harry, even if my situation is revealed to be a not so good prognosis, I am not afraid but I am concerned about my wife. My God is a mighty God and He has hold of me tight-sometimes He provides in all different ways and manners, because He will share His Glory with no man and all praise is His. I do not know what is going to happen but this I do know-I know the one, Who does!

Regards,

Ray Easterling

Apr 222012
 
 April 22, 2012  Posted by  Opinions Comments Off on An “American Man”

I recently traveled to Sarasota, Florida to attend the world premiere screening of “American Man”, a film directed by HBO’s Real Sports contributor Jon Frankel at the Sarasota Film Festival. The film is a documentary of Kevin Turner a former star football player at the University of Alabama and fullback with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. For those who don’t know of Kevin, he is a hardnosed former player who was eventually diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The significance of the film is Kevin gave Jon unlimited access to film him over an extended period of time allowing the viewer an opportunity follow his journey with the disease.

I knew of Kevin’s reputation as a player and had seen him play back in the 90’s but we had never met face to face until the evening of the screening. Upon meeting the 42 year old Turner I could tell immediately that he was every bit a football player. When I say “football player” I mean one of those guys who really loved playing the game! As I watched “American Man” and followed Turner’s journey my heart ached to see the struggles of a player who gave his all on the football field to now having to deal with the symptoms of a fatal disease. Like this and other neurological issues that affect many former players it is widely suspected that Kevin’s disease has been linked to the many concussions he sustained playing football.

During a question and answer session I took part in at the conclusion of the film, I told the audience that I found “American Man” very difficult to watch. But while I say that, “American Man” is the truth for Kevin Turner and others like former Raider fullback Steve Smith another player with ALS. I came away from the screening with a feeling that the film should be required viewing for every football player on every level and for every parent who allows their child to play football. As much as I feel the film should be must viewing I know that there will be some who will refuse to watch and will want blame Frankel, Turner or even Steve Smith for trying to disrupt or change the game of football in some way.

I was actually saddened to watch “American Man” knowing that to see the casualties of the game not only affect the players but the families that never played a down of football.

Mar 122012
 
 March 12, 2012  Posted by  Appearances, Community Involvement Comments Off on Carson Visits Suffern Middle School

Harry Carson, New York Giants Hall Of Fame Linebacker, came to Suffern Middle School on Friday, March 9. Mr. Carson and spoke to Jennie Narcisco’s grade 6 and Russell Rice’s grade 8 classes. In those two sessions, he taled about the 6 Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

That day, Suffern Middle School hosted two multipoint videoconference sessions with Mr. Carson for eight schools nationwide in partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jerry Csaki facilitated the discussion so that students from each school had a chance to ask questions.

More about the program here.


Continue reading »

Feb 212012
 
 February 21, 2012  Posted by  In The News Comments Off on Regarding Congress

I would like to thank all the people I’ve come in contact with either in person or by way of the Internet over the past 2 months who have encouraged, begged or cheered me on to consider running for Congress later this year. To have folks from all walks of life (Young People and Old, Blacks, Whites, Latino, Asian, Republicans, Democrats, Independent and even Tea Party Supporters) give me their unwavering support was heartwarming and humbling. With so much encouragement I wanted to give the thought of running very serious consideration.

After several weeks of serious self-assessment and reflection I have decided not to seek any political office.

I consider myself extraordinarily blessed to have the life I live with boundless opportunities to make a difference in the lives of so many other people. For many of those I have come in contact with mutual friendships have developed. Those who have encouraged me to seek office never asked of my political affiliation, they did so because they know my heart. The general consensus of those leading the cheers was “we need good people in Washington”! As much as I understood that wish by others and wanted to fulfill it, I wrestled with how my own life would change. With the recent passing of several family members including my brother who was only 4 years older than me I could not summon the passion needed to attack this endeavor and give it 150% as I did to become a Hall of Fame athlete.

For those who personally know me I promise that while I am not seeking a political office I will continue to “Represent, Advocate and Inspire” those who feel they don’t have a voice.

Harry Carson

Nov 262011
 
 November 26, 2011  Posted by  Misc, Personal Comments Off on My birthday present to you….!

Today is my birthday! I’m beginning to see a lot of birthdays come and go. And, for those of you who really know me, I am very happy to say that I am doing very well. As birthdays go, my family and friends will once again attempt to do their best to surprise me in some way or with a gift. I can honestly say that I’ve been truly blessed beyond measure and they know that I have never been about receiving gifts, instead I get my pleasure out of giving to others. And that is what I want to do for you if you are interested.

For my birthday I want to give you a gift to keep or pass on to someone that you admire, adore or respect for Christmas. Don’t make the request for the sake of making a request for a free autograph, make the request for someone who you think would really be surprised and pleased to get a photo personally autographed to them from me. From now until December 17th 2011 if you send me a self addressed stamped (manila) envelope I will send to you or the person of your choice an autographed photo from my personal private collection. I only asked that one request is made per person, you indicate the name of the person the photo should be made out to and the correct postage is placed on each envelope. All requests will be processed and mailed on December 19th and should arrive prior to Christmas Day.

H. Carson

All requests should be sent to:

Carson Birthday Request
Harry Carson Inc.
P.O. Box 852
Westwood, NJ 07675